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Mike's Bikes in California Bans Pennies

Photo via <a href="">Buzzfeed</a>
Photo via Buzzfeed

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Northern California really likes to ban things—San Francisco famously banned plastic carrier bags years ago, and even tried banning the sale of furry pets. The newest thing that's banned—this time by a retailer, not a government agency—is pennies. Yup, Mike's Bikes is no longer participating in penny commerce. Why? Mostly because pennies, they say, are bad for the environment and waste time. No, seriously, did you know that the average American wastes 12 hours a year handling pennies? Well, now you know.

Read their full reasoning after the jump.

Making pennies wastes natural resources & is toxic to people and the environment—Pennies are 3% copper, and 97% zinc and are primarily made from virgin ore. Making pennies from zinc means and copper means mining for those materials. Red Dog Mine, which is the largest zinc mine in the US is by far the #1 polluter on the EPA's list, because of large quantities of heavy-metal and lead rich mining tailings. The process of refining both metals can release sulfur dioxide (SO2), lead and zinc into the environment.

Making pennies wastes taxpayer money—As of 2010, it cost 1.79 cents to make each 1 cent coin, meaning that taxpayers lost 0.79 of a cent for each of the 4 billion pennies the Mint produced that year; which represents a $32 million loss in 2010.

Rounding down won't raise prices—At Mike's Bikes, all transactions will be rounded in favor of the customer, so they will essentially function like a 1-4 cent discount on all cash transactions. Economists also have proved that eliminating the penny won't affect prices; we believe that the savings to the environment and the economy will more than compensate for the risk of any possible jump in prices.

Pennies waste time and money—The average American wastes 12 hours a year handling pennies. The National Association of Convenience Stores and Wallgreens estimate that handling pennies adds 2 to 2.5 seconds per cash transaction. By eliminating pennies, Mike's Bikes will save over $5K a year; rounding up to the customer's benefit allows us to share this saving with our customers.

Pennies are worth less than CA minimum wage—pennies are so worthless now that it doesn't even pay the California Minimum Wage of $8/hour to pick them up off the street.

· California bike shop bans pennies [Buzzfeed]
· Mike's Bikes [Official Site]